Resurrection as Glory: Divine Presence and Christian Origins

Carey C. Newman

in The Resurrection

Published in print September 1998 | ISBN: 9780198269854
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600517 | DOI:
 Resurrection as Glory: Divine Presence and Christian Origins

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Christianity's break with Judaism—the mutual ‘parting of the ways’—still baffles those who study it. Was the rupture early and driven by a ‘high’ Christology or was the split late and to be explained sociologically (e.g. differences over temple and law)? This paper makes a contribution to this large and vexing question by investigating the narrative, historical, and theological logic standing behind the NT's (New Testament) identification of Jesus as ‘Glory’.

Part I of this study briefly outlines the different ways the Glory tradition signs the visible, movable divine presence within the Hebrew Bible. Part II plots how Glory came to define the age of eschatological blessing in (1) the prophets, (2) the writings of second temple Judaism, and (3) within Jesus’ own vision for the future. Part III isolates the resurrection as the narrative, historical, and theological trigger for the equation Jesus = Glory. Part IV sketches the profound sociological implications of such an equation.

On the basis of this study, three major conclusions are reached. (1) Christians’ use of Glory language signals that the eschatological age of blessing—the events hoped for by prophets—had broken‐in upon this world in the resurrection of Jesus. (2) The NT's provocative use of Glory language clearly opened a theological breach in the wall of Jewish monotheism by scandalously identifying Jesus as the divine presence. (3) The sociological implications of (1) and (2) as stated above were twofold: Glory language created internal cohesiveness and growth within the Christian community and at the same time clearly marked the boundary lines between Christianity and Judaism. In short, the NT's use of Glory language as a sign of God's power and presence in the resurrection of Jesus indicates that the parting of ways between Christianity and Judaism occurred quite early and did so because of a high Christology.

Keywords: Christian community; Christianity; Christology; divine presence; Glory language; Glory tradition; historical; Jesus as Glory; Judaism; law; narrative; Newman; sociology; temple; theological logic

Chapter.  12847 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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